- 3-4 dried cascabel peppers
- 25g chillies
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 30g dried porcini
- 1 whole chicken
- Salt and pepper
- 2 lemons, 1 halved and the other cut into 4 wedges
- 60ml olive oil
- 500g celery (about 6-8 sticks), cut at a slight angle into 4cm lengths
- 2 onions, peeled, and each cut into 8 wedges
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 8 thyme sprigs
- 320g orzo
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 200°C
Put the chillies and cinnamon in a small frying pan on a medium-high heat, and cook for about eight minutes, or until fragrant and toasted. Transfer to a large bowl with the porcini mushrooms and 1.1 litres boiling water. Cover with a plate and leave to soak for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry and sprinkle all over with half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper, then stuff the cavity with one lemon half.
Put a large ovenproof, cast-iron saucepan on a medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken and cook on all sides until browned – about seven minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a plate, add the remaining two tablespoons of oil to the saucepan, along with the celery and onion, and cook for six minutes, until lightly golden. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
Return the chicken to the pan breast side up, then pour over the porcini liquid, along with all the aromatics, two teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and stir through the orzo, pushing some into the bird’s cavity.
Cover again and bake for 20 minutes more, until the orzo is cooked and has absorbed most of the liquid.
Turn up the oven to 220C, uncover and bake for 10 minutes, or until browned on top. Leave to cool slightly – 10-15 minutes.
To serve, squeeze over the other lemon half, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve directly from the pan, with the lemon wedges alongside.